The Ballerina Whose Skincare Raises The Bar

“My grandmother took me to the Nutcracker when I was four, and I fell in love. Afterwards, I enrolled in a local ballet studio in New Jersey. When I was 10, my mom asked me a really crucial question: ‘If this is something you really want, we have to take it a bit more seriously. You’ll have to switch schools. You’ll have to start a new life in New York City. Is that what you want?’ I couldn’t imagine any other life, so I auditioned for the School of American Ballet, which is the training school for the New York City Ballet, and started commuting every day after. To do that, I condensed all of my academic classes in the mornings and left after lunch for ballet in the afternoons.

As things got more serious, I started going to the Professional Children’s School in New York City. I was 14 or 15 taking the bus every morning at 5:54 AM—I still remember the exact time. My mom would pick me up every night at 7PM and I’d get home around 8. I got into the New York City Ballet Company really young; I was 16 and just a junior in high school. It was incredible. I mean, I had achieved something I really wanted, but it was also one of the hardest years of my life. I was still commuting, so my mom would pick me up around 10:30 PM; I’m so grateful for my parents dedication to my little dream. The whole year, I would study for the SATs in the car and then wake up at 5AM. The next year I moved into the dormitories.

I experienced my first injury when I was 18, during my freshman year at Fordham University. Two bones broke in my foot. After a year of getting cortisone injections and still dealing with inflammation, I ended up having surgery. It turned out that I had a completely torn tendon that needed to be repaired, so I lost another year of dancing. I was the lowest I had ever been, constantly wondering if I would ever dance again. When I did get back into it, it kicked off a whole slew of injuries, including food sensitivities and allergies that would trigger hives. I felt totally helpless, but one of my angels, my pilates instructor Marimba Gold-Watts at the time, introduced me to a nutritionist who recommended acupuncture for a more holistic approach. That kicked off a whole new chapter of my life, and I ended up healing myself from the inflammation and a lot of the food sensitivities and allergies. Part of that was eating a cleaner diet. I started a little blog, Ballerina Journal, where I would post healthy recipes for things like smoothies and chocolate bites that included adaptogens.

Some of those recipes were for bars that fueled me during rehearsals. But most of the bars in the market gave me a stomach ache, so I wanted to create the cleanest possible nut and seed bars with the least amount of sugar. I started taking them with me everywhere. Eventually, my friends were like, ‘Jenelle, you should start a company.’ So I did, and I called it Get Golden. The name stems from the desire to make people feel like their strongest and most vibrant selves despite the bumps in the road. I launched it in the summer of 2020 with the original Classic Caramel bar. Now, we offer a dark chocolate sea salt bar and a nut butter spread, and we’re carried in places like Happier Grocery.

I’ve been going to my dermatologist, Dr. Rebecca Kleinerman, since I was 17 or 18 and had pimples. I recently got Botox with her on my forehead. As far as aestheticians, I’ve been seeing Raquel Medina-Cleghorn for at least four years, long before she was Raquel New York. She’s a master sculptor. Her facials can be pretty expensive and long because I’m doing the whole thing with her—buccal, microcurrent, everything—so I probably see her twice a year. I also love Elizabeth Grace Hand, the founder of Stallë Studios. I see her every other month and I always leave glowing. She does a great job of cleaning out my pores, and she also does buccal massages.

Last summer, I was trying to get rid of the hyperpigmentation from a bunch of acne flare-ups on my chin and between my brows. I went to Lauren Hackney Behringer for one Clear and Brilliant session and two microneedling sessions, and I saw a significant difference in the overall texture and discoloration of my skin. That experience really kicked off my obsession with microneedling. I had already used an Environ gold roller by then, but the moment that I got it done professionally, I was hooked. After microneedling, you’re so red that you look scary, but she used exosomes, which help increase cell turnover faster, and I was completely healed and glowing in maybe two days. After that experience, I started looking up microstamps, which give me more control and go deeper than microneedling pens. I figured that if I could get the exosomes myself, I could microstamp my own face. I found a company that sells exosomes, and after I was very persistent, I bought a bunch in bulk and they came shipped in dry ice—if my fridge ever dies, I’ll be livid.

Other products that really helped with my hyperpigmentation: the Sachi Skin Triphala Pigmentation Corrector (which is more of a ‘natural’ solution), the DMK Melanotech Drops (you can add two to three drops to your serum to prevent pigmentation), and the Dr. Blanc Gluthione Essence and Cica-Clear gel (both of which I’ve been using for two years after I messaged the brand on WhatsApp because they’re based in Korea; if you say I can’t get a product from another country, I will find a way).

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To deal with the crazy cysts themselves, I make my own mask. From having so many ballet injuries, I’ve learned that green clay helps pull out fluids and calms inflammation. I mix green clay and manuka honey to add in moisture and antibacterial properties, and black tea for the caffeine. I make it every few weeks, and the mixture lives in my fridge. If the cyst is infected, I’ll take it a step further and add De La Cruz sulfur ointment. I’m really proud of this mask. It’s magic. I’ve also been into the Sachi Complexion Clarifying Accelerator, which also kills bacteria and calms inflammation. Also, the Lumion Save My Skin serum is great for the nights where you pop your pimples and then you’re left wondering why you did that yourself. It has hypochlorous acid, which is very healing, so you can take a Q-tip with the product to seal it up immediately.

My cleansers are usually really mild. I use CeraVe’s cream-to-foam cleanser to take off stage makeup. I also love Sofie Pavitt’s Clean Clean cleanser, too. Day-to-day, I really like the Hyalogy P-Effect Clearance Cleansing Wash as the first step of my double cleanse, followed by the Hyalogy Creamy Wash. I never feel stripped after I use it. Every two to three weeks, I’ll do a major skin clean out. I alternate between the KaramMD Polish Enzymatic Exfoliator and the Jan Marini Bioglycolic face cleanser, which is pretty strong. I’ve learned from experience that I can only keep it on my skin for 30 seconds to a minute before I have to take it off; if I leave it on longer, I end up very red.

I love serums, and I especially look for those with peptides. The Bioeffect EGF day serum is great for day-to-day. Sometimes I’ll use their 30 Day Treatment, which has three different kinds of growth factors. I forget about the SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ serum sometimes, but every time I use it again, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God. This deserves to be on the shelf.’ The Hyalogy AC Clear Essence focuses on your skin’s microbiome, so if I notice that I’m breaking out or things just feel a little bit off, I like to layer it in. If I’m really dry, I grab the SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. I’ve gone through so many bottles of that one. I’ve really tried to find a vitamin C serum that doesn’t break me out and doesn’t make me rashy. I always go back to the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, but I can’t use it for too long before my skin gets very sensitive. I’m testing the Doctor Rogers Day Preventive Treatment right now, and so far, I’m really liking it. I love Dr. Heather Rogers, the founder. I follow her on Instagram, and she puts out good information. She’s just real and smart.

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I mix up my moisturizers. I was gifted Augustinus Bader’s The Cream a while ago and I tried to find a dupe for it but I couldn’t. I really like the Eucerin Urea face cream, but it’s easier to find in Europe, so I just order it online now. The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo night moisturizer is good, too. It’s so soothing. If I’ve done microneedling or if I’m having a major breakout day, I’ll use SkinCeuticals’s Epidermal Repair for three to four days. It’s great for your skin barrier. And for sunscreens, Beauty of Joseon’s SPF50 is the only sunscreen that doesn’t get in my eyes or give me a weird white cast.

As for devices, I’m hooked on the Environ Electro-Sonic DF Mobile. It uses ultrasound to pulse products deeper into your skin. It’s similar to the Medicube Age R Booster-H in that sense, but they use different technology. On spa nights, whether I’m microneedling or masking, the final phase always includes the Environ to make sure I get the most out of my products. Then I absolutely love the Pico Toner, which is probably the strongest microcurrent device I’ve found. I’ve never been one to do facial yoga, but microcurrent gives you that same lifting effect. The PureLift Pro is another microcurrent favorite. I also love light therapy. I’ve always found it really helpful for evening out my skin tone and healing breakouts. I’ve noticed a difference in my skin since using my Artemis LED face mask. It’s a huge investment but so worth it, especially because it’s more hands-free than other ones I’ve tried. It comes with an app so you can change the lights, too, so if you’re breaking out on your chin, you can use a different protocol depending on the issue. You get a lot out of it.

I don’t wear a ton of makeup during the day, but if I’m wearing makeup, I really like Lily Lolo’s mineral foundation in In the Buff to even out any discoloration. I discovered it more than five years ago when I went through a ‘natural’ phase. Then I love the NARS Radiant Creamy concealer in Creme Brulee for pimples or any areas that are very red.

I love my brows. I tweeze stray hairs sometimes, but otherwise, I just fill them in just a little bit with the Westman Atelier Bonne brow pencil in Bark so they have more of a pop. The Surratt eyelash curler is the one that works the best with my eye shape. It really gets close to the lash line and gives you that doll-like flip. If I want to feel really cute, I see Jas Imani for a lash lift and tint. I went a bit ago and was like, ‘Wait, why don’t I do this more?’ And for mascara I go back and forth with Pat McGrath’s FetishEyes and Byredo’s Astronomical. If I want a colored mascara, Dior’s Diorshow mascara in Blue is fun.

I’m getting more into fun eyeshadow. I love the Isamaya Ffrench Wild Star palette. It’s been a game-changer for my stage makeup, which is a whole other story. The pigment of the colors and the way that the shades blend into each other and reflect light is amazing. It also feels pretty foolproof because they put the colors that are supposed to blend together next to each other. I’m also a Chanel girl. I love all of their palettes but especially Les 4 Ombres in Coral Treasure.


Fara Homidi’s Smudge & Contour lip pencil in Doux is a nice natural color that makes my lips pop and just so pretty. Even if you have zero makeup on your face, you put that on and you’re good. I add the Rhode Peptide lip treatment on top for a little gloss. The Caramel one smells so good. It’s my favorite.

If I have an event to go to, I’ll go a little heavier with the makeup. I like to mix one pump of the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation in 4.5—or 5 in the summer—with one pump of the Make Up Forever HD Skin foundation in 1Y16. Then I do a light bronze with the Chanel Les Beiges Bronzer in Soleil Tan Bronze. If I’m going for a full force sculpt, I like the Make Up For Ever sculpting palette. I usually don’t wear blush, but if I do, the Saie Dew Blush in Cutie is really cute. It gives you a nice flush. I’ve also been loving Victoria Beckham’s Cheeky Posh blush stick in Major. Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal liner in Cocoa is fun for a smoky wing, but on the inside, I like Chanel’s waterproof eyeliner in Espresso because it doesn’t budge. Then I use the Saie’s Glow Sculpt in Quartzglow to highlight. And I set my T-zone with the Givenchy loose powder in Satin Blanc or the Chantecaille Perfect Blur finishing powder. I like staying neutral on my lips, but I have my red moments when I combine Chanel’s lip pencil in Berry and Rouge Allure Ink in Choquant.

La Jolie Nail Studio on the corner of 73rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue was the first nail salon I went to in New York, and I’m loyal. I get gel on my toes because it helps protect and keep your nails. I’m proud of my feet and what they’ve done, but they’re worn, so I always wear a burgundy shade to cover that up. Manicures are a different story. I’ve been going to The Gel Bar for hard gel for maybe four years now. Ballerinas use their hands a lot. We’re constantly putting on pointe shoes and using a lot of rosin, which really dries out your cuticles, so I go every two to three weeks. I either have a red that I very much like or I’ll get one shade of OPI Bubble Bath on the bottom and one shade of OPI Put it On Neutral on top. I always ask for a rounded almond shape. I get upset if they’re pointy. I don’t want claws.

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I feel most beautiful with my hair up, so I need less in this area, but I have a ton of breakage from the head pieces I have to wear for ballet. I told my stylist, Marshall Lin, that I had a halo of baby hairs, and he convinced me to get keratin. It’s honestly helped a lot. In general, my hair grows quickly and I have to get haircuts often, which is not my favorite, but I love Lin. Since I got keratin, my routine had to change. I’ve been using the Virtue Recovery shampoo and the Olaplex Nº.4 Bond Maintenance shampoo; I’m not super loyal to one brand. Pai-Shau’s Replenishing conditioner is my favorite so far. Nothing else has made my hair this soft. Oh, and I feel like my hair has more bounce when I use Crown Affair’s Renewal hair mask.

During the pandemic, I moved to LA and I thought I needed to be more sunshine-y. A lot of people in LA get highlights, so I was like, ‘You know what? I need a boost. I’m getting highlights.’ I went to Sergio Garcia for that. Then I moved back, and this past fall I decided that I should be a brunette after all. My girl Jenna Perry glossed my hair back to my natural color.

For my updos—I love a sleek ponytail or a bun—I love Crown Affair’s gel. For an extra slick look, I go for the Bed Head hair stick. I’ve tried more natural products, but this is the one that works best for flyaways. And I love Crown Affair’s brush No. 001.

When it comes to my personal scent, it really depends on my mood. We have different eras in our life, right? At a certain point, I definitely had a more masculine, woodsy phase where I was wearing Le Labo’s Gaiac 10, which I got in Tokyo, or Byredo’s Mumbai Noise. That said, since I was 16, my OG has been Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens because I love a musky vanilla. But I never want to smell like a dessert. Recently, my thing has been blending perfumes. I’ll mix a vanilla with a floral like Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower, or recently, my signature mix is Baciami Bvlgari and Delina by Parfums de Marly. It’s a sweeter scent for sure, but it’s not dessert.”

—As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Alexandra Genova in New York on March 4, 2024

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